Last issue we introduced Housing New Zealand new chief executive Andrew McKenzie (AM). This issue Contractor Connect (CC) sits down for a chat with him about maintaining HNZ properties and the stock renewal process ahead.
CC: As CEO of Housing New Zealand, what importance do you place on the work our maintenance contractors and subbies do around the country?
AM: The quality of our homes and the living experience they provide for tenants is central to what we do, so keeping our stock maintained and up to standard is vital. We’re an organisation that is absolutely dependent on its people, both inside and outside the organisation, doing what they’re charged with doing, providing good value and delivering excellent service for our tenants. The relationship is crucial.
CC: The average age of Housing New Zealand stock is about 44 years. What impact does that have on the degree of maintenance and investment these older homes require?
AM: The age of our stock means we need to be thoughtful and clever when it comes to our maintenance decisions, particularly if we are going to replace a house or carry out work to ‘reset’ the clocks on existing properties. We need to use our money wisely.
CC: When will the ratio of new homes to old homes actually start to change?
AM: For the next ten years we’ll still have more older homes than newer ones. Then the balance will start to shift. By 2035 we should have 45,000 properties that are in the 0-20 year age bracket and should require lower levels of unplanned maintenance.
CC: Housing New Zealand contractors and subbies have experienced frustration at times over the years with inconsistent workflows from HNZ. Is there any work being done in this area?
AM: Absolutely. We’re going to be much more deliberate and focussed on the long term. We are intent on getting our business processes absolutely right, being less reactive, fixing what’s not being done well and measuring performance.
CC: There has been a lot of recent interest in the government’s Social Housing Reform Programme (SHRP) and the transfer of Housing NZ homes to other social housing providers. What impact will this have on HNZ’s portfolio?
AM: The purpose of the government’s Social Housing Reform Programme is to help grow the community housing sector, diversify the number of providers and encourage innovation. Housing New Zealand will still be the largest provider of social housing for the foreseeable future though.